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Showcase 2023 Student Spotlight: Kirsty Autherson

Student Spotlight featuring BSc (Hons) Product Design student, Kirsty Autherson and her project, S.O.S Ski Pass.

Images of a new design for an ipod for running

The project

For Kirsty's major project, she decided to create a product to help improve the rescue and response time of ski patrol. Currently, the only way to contact a patroller if you are injured on the ski slope is by phone, not many people know the emergency number and they often don’t have any service. She decided to redesign the ski pass to include a GPS system so in an emergency, skiers can activate it telling a patroller they need help, and the device sends their location. She also wanted to improve the sustainability aspect of this system, at the moment they print thousands of plastic cards just for them to be thrown away. So, a reusable pass that can help locate injured skiers was an idea that ski patrollers loved.

The inspiration behind the project

Kirsty is very passionate about skiing, and from her experience she knows that accidents happen constantly. She managed to go for a couple of days at the start of the project and talk to ski patrollers in person about what their job entails, their rescue process and any challenges they face. The main problem they have is contacting and locating injured skiers on the slopes.

Out of all the projects I’ve worked on at NTU this one has been the most enjoyable. Getting to design my own brief has made working through the various design and development stages a lot more interesting. Receiving weekly feedback from tutors/ peers as well as interviewing experts in the field really helped develop the idea and think about how it will work in real-life.

Being part of NTU

Kirsty has really loved her time at NTU, it’s helped her develop a lot of my skills such as working in a team, getting to work on collaborative projects with real brands such as JCB. Also, the chance to learn skills from members in her group helped her improve her sketching and software skills like Keyshot.

One of her most memorable moments at NTU has to be her trip to Trampaboards, an electric skateboard company. Everyone got to test out some of their skateboards and go karts, look around their company and see how products are professionally designed.

Closing remarks

Kirsty would really recommend the course to anyone thinking about studying it, it’s a lot of work but it‘s definitely worth it. You develop so many skills needed for industry from the more technical side of design to how to present your ideas to potential clients. My advice would be to go and ask all the tutors for advice on your projects, their feedback is so useful and can give you ideas you might’ve missed.

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